A Colorado minimum wage group denied reports that it paid organizers below the $12 minimum wage for which it is campaigning.
Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, which obtained the signatures needed to place a measure requiring a $12 minimum wage on the November ballot, paid many of its petition handlers less than $12 an hour, according to paperwork filed with the state and obtained by in the Washington Times.
"According to a circulator and wage report filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office by proponents of increasing the minimum wage, 24 of the workers collecting signatures to get on the ballot were paid less than $12 an hour," the Times reported. "The report was obtained Keep Colorado Working, the opposition campaign, in an open records request."
Colorado Families for a Fair Wage is a coalition of liberal groups, including prominent labor unions, such as the AFL-CIO and American Federation of Teachers. The group denied the allegations that it failed to pay its employees adequate wages following the Washington Times report, blaming "clerical errors" in campaign filings for the gap in pay.
"Every person working on the minimum wage ‘$12 by 2020’ ballot initiative has earned a minimum of $12 an hour and more because it’s crucial that the paychecks of Colorado working families can cover housing, food and other basics, campaign manager Patty Kupfer said in a release. "We included pay policy language in our office policy document to specifically ensure that every worker would earn at least $12 an hour."
The group said it will file amended paperwork with the secretary of state’s office to reflect that it paid all of its workers at least $12 an hour.
The ballot measure would raise the minimum wage from $8.31 to $9.30 in 2017 before rising to $12 an hour in 2020. The ballot measure mirrors similar efforts in other states and has been embraced by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The group successfully put the issue on the ballot after convincing about 200,000 resident to sign its petition—double the number needed. Questions have been raised about possible forgeries on the petition, leading to an investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office.
Colorado Families for a Fair Wage is not the first minimum wage booster to be accused of hypocrisy. In June the Washington Free Beacon discovered a job posting from the Maine People’s Alliance, a group campaigning for a $12 wage, offering to pay organizers about $10 an hour. The group blamed a clerical error for the stated wage rate and edited the ad after the news broke.